2016 was an interesting year for games of the horror genre. While the pickings for “best” game were relatively few and far between when compared to first person shooters or role-playing games, the independent scene did a lot of good in keeping horror alive. That being said, this list, which focuses on the top three horror games of 2016, did not escape the “survival horror” sector of the genre. Presented below for your edification is our list of the top three horror titles of last year.
While this list covers titles that released in 2016, it is important to remember that this game, which may also be referred to as Doom ’16 or Doom 4 is the fourth installment in the core franchise; it is not a reboot. Through hints in the game’s story and lore, the player soon discovers that he has re-entered the armor of the same Doom Marine as all the other titles. One of the greatest features of this title is the way that it handles music; you quickly learn that demons and other hellish creatures are making a beeline for your character whenever the tempo of the background music picks up. This Doom learned all of its lessons from Doom ’04 and refined the final product into a perfect storm of awesomeness and brutality.
This an unconventional game that is saturated with atmosphere. After a group of teenagers decide to reconnect over a campfire on an island, they slowly discover that there is a very serious and very scary other world out there. As the teens work to regroup and find a way off of the island and to fix what’s been broken, a mysterious shadow makes appearances within reflective surfaces throughout the game. This shadowy figure seems to give the lead advice on courses of action. What the shadowy figure is, as well as its plans, is a mind-blowing reveal that players will have to discover for themselves. This game also features an interesting art style reminiscent of the film Coraline and offers multiple playthroughs. You won’t see Oxenfree as one of the best selling games of all-time, but if you are into horror games, this game hits all the right spots.
This atmospheric title by Playdead, the same publisher that handled the indy darling Limbo, gives us another dip into atmospheric horror. Where Limbo was a tale about a single boy in a horrific world devoid of color, Inside gives a similar sense of isolation. You play as a boy on a quest to learn what happened to everyone while also avoiding the notice of adults who seem to be in on the conspiracy. Later on, this boy gains the ability to possess others to solve certain puzzles. Playdead’s impressive and minimalist approach to presentation continues with Inside’s color palette and sound design; the only time you hear any noises is when such noise would be important. Much like with Limbo, Inside features a variety of realistic death scenes that can befall the boy. While Inside features two endings, both outcomes can leave a player with a shattered perception of what they accomplished.